Br. Placid Gross, OSB

The one question that I get asked very often is “How did you know you wanted to be a Brother?” or “Why did you become a Brother?” I find it difficult, or may I say that I find it “impossible” to answer that question. The only answer that I have is that it seemed to be what I was supposed to do. I was not struck by lightning, I did not see Angels and I did not hear a loud noise. Well, maybe I could say that I heard silent voices within me. There was nothing extraordinary in my growing up years. I was born into a very large farm family on an average sized farm near Napoleon, ND. I milked cows by hand and did all the various jobs on the farm that all farm boys were expected to do. I also did a lot of child care for my younger brothers. We walked one mile to a one room country school where one teacher taught all eight grades. The teachers were always young and inexperienced in teaching. They soon moved on to less stressful work with better pay.  Our parents were devout and prayerful people. We had a long list of family prayers before meals and after meals and at bedtime. Every year we had three weeks of catechism school during the month of June. The Franciscan Sisters from Hankinson were wonderful religion teachers. There were two Sisters for the entire parish children. Most years each Sister had up to or over 50 students. How was it possible that we could even learn anything with so many students in one group?  The Sunday Mass and other activities that were church related was our main social outlet. Fr. George Bolte was our parish priest for 19 years and he liked to schedule many parish devotions. Since our father was the parish organist he had to go to church whenever anything was going on and whenever dad went to church the entire family also went to church. Fr. Bolte prayed a lot. After the Mass on Sunday mornings the congregation knelt for additional prayers. Fr. Bolte always led the congregation in praying one Our Father, One Hail Mary and one Glory Be for individual intention. Praying for rain was a regular thing during the summer months. We prayed for the boys in the military service, we prayed for sick members of the parish, we prayed for anyone who traveled, we prayed for students and for the elderly. Some Sundays there were as many as ten prayer petitions. The congregation always prayed the rosary before Mass and it almost seemed like another rosary after Mass. We always prayed for Priests, Sisters and Brothers. That is where I found out that there is such a thing as a vocation to be a Brother. Fr. Bolte told us that one should pray for the right choice in a state of life. I always prayed for the right decision and in fact I still do that. Our pastor and also our parents always had great respect for and praised the Priests and Sisters that we came into contact with. Our pastor also “pushed” religious reading material and in the Catholic papers I read about Brothers. Later on after I joined the monastery and doubts came along I told myself “I had prayed about this and it seemed that God wanted me here, and now it is up to God to give me the grace to continue.”  While growing up I did not know anybody who was a Brother and I had never seen a monastery until one month before I entered one. The one and only time that I ever moved in my life time was when I moved from the house where I was born in and moved to the monastery. There also is nothing spectacular about why I chose Assumption Abbey. It simply was the closest one to home.  Being a Benedictine means that one is expected to “work and pray.” My work assignment has been at the Abbey farm for 52 years. In 2011 we discontinued doing the work ourselves and the land is now rented out. Besides doing the “work and pray” my hobbies have been family genealogy and Germans from Russia history which is my ethnic background.
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Br. Placid Gross, OSB

The one question that I get asked very often is “How did you know you wanted to be a Brother?” or “Why did you become a Brother?” I find it difficult, or may I say that I find it “impossible” to answer that question. The only answer that I have is that it seemed to be what I was supposed to do. I was not struck by lightning, I did not see Angels and I did not hear a loud noise. Well, maybe I could say that I heard silent voices within me. There was nothing extraordinary in my growing up years. I was born into a very large farm family on an average sized farm near Napoleon, ND. I milked cows by hand and did all the various jobs on the farm that all farm boys were expected to do. I also did a lot of child care for my younger brothers. We walked one mile to a one room country school where one teacher taught all eight grades. The teachers were always young and inexperienced in teaching. They soon moved on to less stressful work with better pay.  Our parents were devout and prayerful people. We had a long list of family prayers before meals and after meals and at bedtime. Every year we had three weeks of catechism school during the month of June. The Franciscan Sisters from Hankinson were wonderful religion teachers. There were two Sisters for the entire parish children. Most years each Sister had up to or over 50 students. How was it possible that we could even learn anything with so many students in one group?  The Sunday Mass and other activities that were church related was our main social outlet. Fr. George Bolte was our parish priest for 19 years and he liked to schedule many parish devotions. Since our father was the parish organist he had to go to church whenever anything was going on and whenever dad went to church the entire family also went to church. Fr. Bolte prayed a lot. After the Mass on Sunday mornings the congregation knelt for additional prayers. Fr. Bolte always led the congregation in praying one Our Father, One Hail Mary and one Glory Be for individual intention. Praying for rain was a regular thing during the summer months. We prayed for the boys in the military service, we prayed for sick members of the parish, we prayed for anyone who traveled, we prayed for students and for the elderly. Some Sundays there were as many as ten prayer petitions. The congregation always prayed the rosary before Mass and it almost seemed like another rosary after Mass. We always prayed for Priests, Sisters and Brothers. That is where I found out that there is such a thing as a vocation to be a Brother. Fr. Bolte told us that one should pray for the right choice in a state of life. I always prayed for the right decision and in fact I still do that. Our pastor and also our parents always had great respect for and praised the Priests and Sisters that we came into contact with. Our pastor also “pushed” religious reading material and in the Catholic papers I read about Brothers. Later on after I joined the monastery and doubts came along I told myself “I had prayed about this and it seemed that God wanted me here, and now it is up to God to give me the grace to continue.”  While growing up I did not know anybody who was a Brother and I had never seen a monastery until one month before I entered one. The one and only time that I ever moved in my life time was when I moved from the house where I was born in and moved to the monastery. There also is nothing spectacular about why I chose Assumption Abbey. It simply was the closest one to home.  Being a Benedictine means that one is expected to “work and pray.” My work assignment has been at the Abbey farm for 52 years. In 2011 we discontinued doing the work ourselves and the land is now rented out. Besides doing the “work and pray” my hobbies have been family genealogy and Germans from Russia history which is my ethnic background.
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Phone (701) 974 3315 Address PO Box A Richardton, ND 58601